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Characters and events of Roman History   By: (1871-1942)

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CHARACTERS AND EVENTS OF ROMAN HISTORY

FROM CÆSAR TO NERO

THE LOWELL LECTURES OF 1908

BY

GUGLIELMO FERRERO, LITT.D.

AUTHOR OF

"THE GREATNESS AND DECLINE OF ROME," ETC.

TRANSLATED BY

FRANCES LANCE FERRERO

[Illustration]

The Chautauqua Press

CHAUTAUQUA, NEW YORK

[Copyright deleted]

By G.P. Putnam's Sons

Fifth Printing

The Chautauqua Print Shop

Chautauqua, N.Y.

PREFACE

In the spring of 1906, the Collège de France invited me to deliver, during November of that year, a course of lectures on Roman history. I accepted, giving a résumé, in eight lectures, of the history of the government of Augustus from the end of the civil wars to his death; that is, a résumé of the matter contained in the fourth and fifth volumes of the English edition of my work, The Greatness and Decline of Rome .

Following these lectures came a request from M. Emilio Mitre, Editor of the chief newspaper of the Argentine Republic, the Nacion , and one from the Academia Brazileira de Lettras of Rio de Janeiro, to deliver a course of lectures in the Argentine and Brazilian capitals. I gave to the South American course a more general character than that delivered in Paris, introducing arguments which would interest a public having a less specialized knowledge of history than the public I had addressed in Paris.

When President Roosevelt did me the honour to invite me to visit the United States and Prof. Abbott Lawrence Lowell asked me to deliver a course at the Lowell Institute in Boston, I selected material from the two previous courses of lectures, moulding it into the group that was given in Boston in November December, 1908. These lectures were later read at Columbia University in New York, and at the University of Chicago in Chicago. Certain of them were delivered elsewhere before the American Philosophical Society and at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, at Harvard University in Cambridge, and at Cornell University in Ithaca.

Such is the record of the book now presented to the public at large. It is a work necessarily made up of detached studies, which, however, are bound together by a central, unifying thought; so that the reading of them may prove useful and pleasant even to those who have already read my Greatness and Decline of Rome .

The first lecture, "The Theory of Corruption in Roman History," sums up the fundamental idea of my conception of the history of Rome. The essential phenomenon upon which all the political, social, and moral crises of Rome depend is the transformation of customs produced by the augmentation of wealth, of expenditure, and of needs, a phenomenon, therefore, of psychological order, and one common in contemporary life. This lecture should show that my work does not belong among those written after the method of economic materialism, for I hold that the fundamental force in history is psychologic and not economic.

The three following lectures, "The History and Legend of Antony and Cleopatra," "The Development of Gaul," and "Nero," seem to concern themselves with very different subjects. On the contrary, they present three different aspects of the one, identical problem the struggle between the Occident and the Orient a problem that Rome succeeded in solving as no European civilisation has since been able to do, making the countries of the Mediterranean Basin share a common life, in peace. How Rome succeeded in accomplishing this union of Orient and Occident is one of the points of greatest interest in its history. The first of these three lectures, "Antony and Cleopatra," shows how Rome repulsed the last offensive movement of the Orient against the Occident; the second, "The Development of Gaul," shows the establishing of equilibrium between the two parts of the Empire; the third, "Nero," shows how the Orient, beaten upon fields of battle and in diplomatic action, took its revenge in the domain of Roman ideas, morals, and social life... Continue reading book >>




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